"Fault" or "liability" are pretty much interchangible terms, and simply refer to who made the mistake that caused your injury. Sometimes it's obvious, and other times not. Sometimes it is one person, and other times a bunch of people. There are a variety of ways to prove that someone was at fault.
You may be able to show that the responsible party violated a statute or rule that was designed to prevent injury. You may even be able show fault if someone failed to follow a recommended standard or practice.
Sometimes, the person who caused the injury may be responsible because their relationship with you demands special attention. A doctor and a patient have a "special" relationship, as do an attorney and a client. These relationships create a special responsibility, and if that responsibility is no met, and you are harmed, then there is a possible claim, not to get something for nothing, but to be compensated for the harm or loss suffered.
Sometimes a person's legal status may determine how much a person has to do to prevent an injury. For example, if you are visiting a store as a potential customer, and you are injured because of the storekeeper is careless or makes a mistake, that storekeeper may be responsible because you are a customer, and the storekeeper benefits from you being in the store. But if you are not invited to be on another's property, and you just flat out trespass, the land owner may not have much legal responsibility to keep you safe.
Finally, there may be no rule, special status, or relationship that defines a person's responsibility to keep you out of harm's way. It may just be that a person does something careless, even stupid, that they know could or will hurt somebody. Although it might seem like it sometimes, there is not a rule or law that covers every possible way a person may act carelessly, or even stupidly, and hurt someone. This option of proving someone is responsible for another's injury is available to seek compensation for harm for those cases. It's common sense.
Sometimes, it takes a lot of digging to find out if someone is responsible for causing your injury, or even who that person may be.
We know how to dig, and more importantly, where to dig. So, if you are injured, and you think someone should be held accountable, but are not sure, call us at 503-325-8600. We may be able to help you right away, or recommend that you go deeper. Either way, its good to know where you stand.